Friday, 25 December 2015

Top 7 Festive Winter Reads


Being the book nerd that I am, how could I not include a post in my Merry Listmas series all about books.

1) Dash and Lily's Book of Dares 
     by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

2) Harry Potter ( whole series)
     by JK Rowling

3) The Night Before Christmas

4) Dream Chaser 
     by Angie Stanton

5) A Christmas Carol
     by Charles Dickins

6) The Snow Queen
     by Hans Christian Andersen

7) My True Love Gave to Me
     edited by Stephanie Perkins

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Top 5 Worst Christmas Songs... (that you secretly love) | Merry Listmas #4


You know those songs that just keep playing again and again that, after a while, you find yourself subconsciously singing in the shower? Well these are my festive favourites from this category.

     - Justin Bieber

     - The Grinch


      - Mariah Carey 


Wednesday, 23 December 2015

My Favourite Things About Christmas | Merry Listmas #3


1) Christmas Lights
2) SHOPPING!
3) Wrapping Presents
4) Ugly Jumpers
5) Festive scented candles
6) Food. All the food.
7) Snow. Unfortunately, this seems to be missing in the UK this year.
8) Soppy movies
9) Santa hats
10) Bows & ribbons.

Let me know in the comments what your favourite things about Christmas are.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Top 10 Christmas Movies | Merry Listmas #2


What's Christmas without the classic, if not slightly crappy, movies. So, here's my pick of the bunch as my all time favourites.

1) Elf
2) The Nightmare Before Christmas
3) A Christmas Carol (Disney)
4) The Grinch 
5) Home Alone
6) The Holiday
7) Fred Clause
8) Rise of the Guardians
9) Miracle on 34th Street
10) Love Actually

Monday, 21 December 2015

Top 10 Christmas Songs | Merry Listmas #1


Well, it's that time of year again, when Christmas songs are played in every shop and you can't walk around a corner without being confronted by a creepy image of Santa. This year I wanted to create a little mini series in order to get back into blogging. So, to fill this role I introduce to you 'Merry Listmas', where I will write a short list -style post related to Christmas each day until the big day. Today I thought I would kick start this series with my top 10 Christmas songs...

1) Fairytale of New York - The Pogues & Kirsty McColl
2) Christmas Lights - Coldplay
4) Underneath the Tree - Kelly Clarkson
6) Fool's Holiday - All Time Low
7) Jingle Bell Rock - Glee
8) Mistletoe and Wine - Cliff Richard
10) Let it snow - Dean Martin

Sunday, 1 November 2015

MEOW! | Outfit #4



Dress - Topshop
Hair Bow - New Look

Happy (late) Halloween! As I'm writing this it is November 1st, or as I know it best MY BIRTHDAY! This Halloween a few friends and I dressed up and went bowling as a little Halloween and birthday celebration and as you can tell I went as a pretty mainstream character. A cat. Next year I definitely plan to do something a little more creative, but this post is actually more about the dress I wore than my feline alter ego.

This dress is a pretty lace swing dress that I spotted on the Topshop website the other day and couldn't resist. I especially love the high neckline which in my opinion gives the dress a slight Victorian edge. It is definitely a new staple in my wardrobe, paired with a black velvet bow in my hair of course. 
I hope you all had a great Halloween and if it was also your birthday this weekend, then let me know in the comments.
xxx

Sunday, 4 October 2015

I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak | Book Review




*All opinions expressed in this review are all my personal opinions which have not been influenced or paid for by any outside party.*

I Am The Messenger by Marcus Zusak
Published by: Definitions
Genres: Mystery, YA (but more than suitable for older readers).
Star rating; 5 out of 5 
Pages: 459

Summary (from the back of the book):
"Ed Kennedy is an underage cab driver without much of a future.

He's pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence - until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

That's when the first ace arrives in the mail.
That's when Ed becomes the Messenger.

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (where necessary) until only one question remains: Who's behind Ed's mission?"


"It's impeccable how brutal the truth can be at times. You can only admire it." (page 393)
The only way I can think to describe this book is a gem. It is one of those reads that is simply perfect as it is. I am always looking for a stand alone book that is able to be just that, a single book. Honestly, series annoy me, especially when the first book rounded up the story perfectly. Unfortunately, I often find amazing stand alone books (that stay stand alone's), hard to find. 

'I Am The Messenger' was exactly what I was looking for and more. It had a thrilling, often on the edge of your seat plot (with just enough softer ,touching parts to not be overdone), believable and likeable characters and a coffee-drinking dog! What more could you ask for?

The story, from the bestselling author of 'The Book Thief', follows 19-year-old under-age cab driver, Ed Kennedy. Throughout the novel, Ed goes through huge character development. He goes from a being of routine, content in the ordinary foundation of his life, to a figure of human kindness and conscience, Through helping others, he becomes the person he always needed to be. 
"If I ever leave this place' - I swallow - 'I'll make sure I'm better here first." (page 365)

A theme that runs through this book is the power of decisions. Through Ed's requirement to make decisions based on the playing cards he receives, Zusak exemplifies how every decision, no matter how small, has repercussions. In the book, I found that many of my favourite moments were based on Ed dealing with the repercussions of his decisions, rather than making the decisions themselves. Something that stood out to me and impacted me the most was how the decisions Zusak's protagonist made, created a chain reaction. I think what really interested me was how real the problems Ed was expected to solve were. As readers, we are faced with such a powerful yet entertaining plot, where you begin to follow the chain, link by link even after you've stopped reading.

"Things just keep going as long as memory can wield its axe, always finding a soft part in your mind to cut through and enter." (page 344)
The person behind Ed's mission is similar, in my opinion, to Orwell's Big Brother from his 'Nineteen Eighty- Two'. They are aware of every step Ed makes and, like Big Brother, is always watching!

Overall I adored this book. Its captivating plot and set of amiable characters sets it apart from the rest of its genre and would make a perfect read for a book-club. My only plight with this novel is the ending, when the identity of the person behind the messages is revealed. I don't want to give too much away, so all I will say is that it felt a little rushed and disappointing. Of course this is purely based on my own personal opinion, and if you have or plan to read this book then please let me know your own opinions in the comments.

"I didn't know words could be so heavy." (page 272)




Monday, 31 August 2015

A Week In Reflection | #3


Favourite Songs Listened To...
Janet Devlin - 'House of Cards'
Fall Out Boy - 'Where Did the Party Go'
Against The Current - 'Talk'
Philip Phillips - 'Gone. Gone, Gone'
Books Read...
I Am The Messenger by Marcus Zusak

Favourite Blogposts Read...
5 Makeup Looks for the City: Look 3 - The Sassy Street
Day Tripping : Harrogate - What Olivia Did...

Photo of The Week

(Review coming soon)

Most Interesting Google Searches
How to make a cushion cover
How is paper made?

Curious Thoughts
Why is having very little body hair considered attractive? The only time in your life when you naturally have very little body hair is when you are a child/ baby. Creepy much?

Shows/Movies Watched On Netflix
Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow
Live At The Apollo
Sherlock
Gotham

Favourite Quote
"Have I gone mad?"
"I'm afraid so, you're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret... all the best people are."
  - Lewis Carroll, Alice's  Adventures In Wonderland


Monday, 29 June 2015

A Week In Reflection | #2


Favourite Songs Listened To...
Walk The Moon - Shut Up and Dance
 Hobbie Stuart - See You Again (Cover)
All Time Low - Time Bomb (Acoustic)

Books Read...
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins 
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (Reread)

Favourite Blogposts Read...

Photo of The Week
(Taken while playing with my new camera. No other reasons or excuses. This is the closest I get to a selfie.)

Most Interesting Google Searches
Lyrics to 'Oh Cecilia' by The Vamps (I thought confidence was coffin in the song and got kinda confused.)

Curious Thoughts
If objects had feelings and could speak, would tea cups scream when we tried to pour tea in them?

Shows/Movies Watched On Netflix
Once Upon a Time (Finally finished season 4)
Hannah Montana the Movie (I felt nostalgic)
Pretty Little Liars
LOL

Favourite Quote
"It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do."
Jane Austen
(Sense and Sensibility)

Sunday, 28 June 2015

A Pocketful Of Eyes by Lili Wilkinson (Book Review)



*All opinions expressed in this review are all my personal opinions which have not been influenced or paid for by any outside party.*
A Pocketful of Eyes by Lili Wilkinson
Published by: Allen & Unwin
Goodreads
Genres: YA, Mystery, Comedy/Humour
Star Rating: 4 out of 5
Pages: 311
Summary (from the back of the book):
Bee is in her element working in the taxidermy department at the Museum of Natural History, but her summer job turns out to be full of surprises: A dead body in the Red Rotunda. A mysterious benefactor. A large stuffed tiger in the Catacombs. A handsome boy with a fascination for unusual animal mating habits. And a pocketful of glass eyes.
 Can Bee sift through the clues to discover whether her mentor really committed suicide ... or is there a murderer in their midst?

I have always been a huge fan of mysteries, especially detective mysteries. From Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and Poirot to Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes, I am unable to resist the appeal of a good mystery. In my opinion, what makes a good mystery is a reliable and relatable narrator/main character. Wilkinson gives her protagonist, Beatrice May Ross, a strong voice that is humorous, relatable and trustworthy. Bee is one of those characters that, not only do you see as a close friend by the end of the book, but makes you want her to succeed.
The story follows Bee and Toby, who has an usual interest in animal mating habits, as they try to solve a mystery that nobody else seems to think needs solving at all. The story is light hearted, but still draws you in. Wilkinson is able to make you laugh while still being caught up in the suspense of the novel, which I personally found as quite a unique and alluring quality.
The biggest positive to this book is how real the characters feel as you progress through the story. This novel is not short of quirky characters, and getting to know more about them is almost as thrilling as the mystery itself. Wilkinson shows 'Geek' in a whole new light, that is not only positive, but also enviable and respected.
Not only did I enjoy this novel, but I was also able to learn a few interesting facts that I can honestly say have never come up in my many years of education. For example, "Did you know,... that necrophilia wasn't a crime in the US until 1965?". Since reading this novel I have found myself googling the mating habits of snails, and also using the very helpful life tip of asking myself "WWPD?" or "What Would Poirot Do?".
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and cannot wait to read the authors other published works. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone that is looking for something that is light-hearted and witty, but without the loss of a striking plot with plenty of excitement and plot twists.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

A Week In Reflection | #1

'A Week In Reflection' is a new little series I've decided to introduce to this blog in the hopes of making my posting a little more regular. The general idea is that I have selected a few topics (e.g. songs I've listened to) and will fill them in each week. Do you get the idea? Maybe I should jump straight into it...

Favourite Songs Listened To...
Ed Sheeran - Photograph
Stereophonics - C'est La Vie
Fall Out Boy - Just One Yesterday
As It Is - Cheap Shots & Setbacks
Only The Young - I Do

Books Read...
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Favourite Blogposts Read...
Carriebrighton - Photo Diary
Fashion-Train - 25 Blog Post Ideas For When You've Run Out Of Ideas
My Friends Are Fiction - Discussion - It's hard for me to rate books outside my typical genre

Photo of The Week
(Taken in a random car park, with me trying not to fall out of the car window as I took it.)

Most Interesting Google Searches
What are the mating habits of snails? (I was curious)
How to feel inspired?
Justin Bieber without eyebrows

Curious Thoughts
In TV shows when the heroes are locked up in a cage/cave/prison/dungeon by the villain, where do they pee? In the corner? In a coca-cola bottle? They never feel the need to provide these details.

Shows/Movies Watched On Netflix
Once Upon A Time
The Inbetweeners
Friday Night Dinner

Funniest Text Sent/Recieved
"You know when a car stops when your crossing the road and you wave your hand in acknowledgement, are you thanking them for allowing you to cross or for not killing you?"
Sent by me to a friend. Apparently the answer is both.

Favourite Quote
"Study while others are sleeping;
Work while others are loafing;
Prepare while others are playing;
And dream while others are wishing."
- William Arthur Ward




Friday, 27 March 2015

Sunday


The day of calm. Lounging on the sofa watching this weeks favourite TV show, snuggled up under layers of warm blankets with your second cup of tea grasped in you hands. When I think of Sundays, I think of thoughtfulness and expectation. Expectation for the week ahead, expectation for the next few months, maybe even expectation for the rest of your life.
Lately, stress seems to be my constant companion. With deadlines and expectations looming over me, it has become almost impossible to just sit back, breathe and relax. Motivation has been like an absent friend, fading in and out when I need it most. Last Sunday, I finally got the chance to relax. I lay down the revision cards, released my firm grip of the brightly coloured pens and breathed. For the first time in a long time, I grabbed my camera, stepped outside and just let myself go. I could feel my motivation returning to me slowly, and all of the expectation, responsibility and stress seemed to float away. I've realised since, that expectations can be both positive and negative. In many ways having expectations for yourself and what you want to achieve helps you stay on track and have something to aim for. But in other ways, having expectations, especially from others, that you feel you have to meet is like a constant scratching at the back of your throat. I aim to only allow my expectations of myself and my life to influence my next steps and the choices that I make. I hope to stay motivated and embrace my expectations as friends. Life may be the longest thing you ever do, but it is still far too short to be stressed, especially about things out of your control. No matter what your dealing with, whether it be exams, relationship problems or arguments with friends or family, take at least an hour out of your day next Sunday to reflect on everything.
 Sit back, relax, and breathe.
xxx
Miss Bows

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Grafea Camera Bag - Review





Hello again my Stylish Bows. As I sit here, snuggled up under my fluffy blanket with a steaming cup of tea (Disney mug of course), I finally bring you my review of Grafea's camera bag. I received this gorgeous pink delight for Christmas, and it has been a staple in my wardrobe and in my photography kit ever since. As the avid readers of you may have noticed, I haven't written a product review in quite awhile, so I apologize if I am a little rusty. In order to cover all essential aspects to present you with as full of a review as I can, I will be splitting it up into the following headings; Aesthetics, Storage/Function and Cost. Just to clear up any doubts, this review is not paid for and I have not been given this product as a gift or for review from the company.
 
Aesthetics
 
This particular bag comes in a variety of colours, so if pink isn't your colour then no worries.  From what I can remember, I believe they offer it in tan, black, burgundy, pink and their newest addition, pure white.  The colour, I have to admit, I was a little concerned about.  a) Was it going to be too bright and 'in your face'? and b) Was it going to get dirty quickly? Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised on both counts; the colour is a softer shade of pink that is actually easy to wear with most other colours and most dirt just wipes straight off. The actual style of the bag is similar to a satchel, with its structured pockets and working buckle closures. Due to its fashion forward appearance, it is hard to tell it is even a camera bag, making it easy to fit into everyday wear.
 
Storage/Function
 
As you can see from the photograph above, the main section of the bag is made up of a padded, secure sectioned off area to keep your key photography equipment. The dividers that section off the areas are removable due to them being attached by Velcro, so you can move or remove them if you choose.  There is space to keep a camera (designed for a DSLR) and two lenses, or a lens and a flash gun. The two side pockets are perfect for keeping SD/CF cards, remotes, lens wipes, card readers or even a lip gloss and some concealer. There is also a pocket at the front, under the flap, that is the perfect size for keeping money, phone or any other essentials you need to keep with you at all times. The only other storage space is in the form of two flat pockets at the back; one zipped, perfect for keeping a few business cards or a cheeky chocolate bar wrapper.
 
Cost
 
This bag retails for £200 (now £150). I'll admit, I have never come close to spending that amount of money on any bag and I wouldn't have ever considered it if it wasn't a camera bag. But it is important to remember that this bag is made of real leather and is made in Britain. It is also kind of a niche market, as there are very few fashionable camera bags on the market at the moment, although we are starting to see a rise.
 
Overall, I am very happy with this product. The only flaws I have with it are there isn't enough specialist space regarding photography equipment (e.g. specially designed, extendable pockets to store SD/CF cards) and that it can be hard to get to your camera quickly to snap that once in a lifetime shot when you have to contend with the buckle closures.
xxx
Miss Bows


Sunday, 15 February 2015

My Favourite Books of 2014

 
Hello again my Stylish Bows. I'm sorry this post is so late and short, but I just wanted to upload it quickly as I am currently working on a slightly complicated post for next week. I hope you enjoy this little update and I would love to know what your favourite reads of 2014 were in the comments.
 
1) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (5 stars)
2) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (5 stars)
3) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (5 stars)
4) Fairy Tales by The Brothers Grimm (5 stars)
5) City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (4.5 stars)
6) Alienated by Melissa Landers (4 stars)
7) Hollow Pike by James Dawson (4 stars)
 

Friday, 30 January 2015

To The Future...


Hello again my Stylish Bows. So, here we are again. Today I wanted to bring you an admittedly wordy post as I try to articulate all the things zooming around my brain like a fly that just wont be beaten by the rolled up magazine you keep trying to hit it with. So, this little blog of mine in nearly 2 years old now, oh how time flies (get it? fly joke). Over these past two years I have often made promises like I will post every Wednesday, because others bloggers always stress how important it is to keep to a schedule. Well, I guess I'm just a rebel (I'm really not) but I'm not going to even try to keep to a schedule anymore. Consistency is just something I can't promise right now, with exams around the corner and my frequent procrastination, it would be impossible. Mostly, I just don't want to make my blog feel like a chore.

Something else that some may have noticed is that the focus of this blog has slightly shifted over the last few months. When I first started blogging, I focused almost entirely on beauty. I still love make-up and other beauty blogs, but I feel like I have lost my love of writing about it a bit. That doesn't mean that I wont ever blog about it again, just less often. I really want to focus my blog more on my interests right now; including fashion, photography, social issues (e.g. feminism), books and general thoughts.

I  hope that you will stay with me as I continue posting, hopefully more often, on my little piece of the interwebs. Let's make 2015 a great year for Bows of Style.
xxx
Miss Bows

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Why I Love Fashion!



Hello again my Stylish Bows. I have always been a very bookish person, often preferring a book to real human company. But despite this I am a complete shopaholic, willing to risk groups of real life people in the search of a cute new dress or a new bowler hat(I really like hats). This is the reason why my wardrobe is literally (I really do mean literally) bulging open with clothes. Honestly, I just love fashion. Now, I would never say I follow trends, I guess I just let them inspire me and my outfit choices. But I have my own, specific reasons for loving fashion and I really wanted to share them with you all.

I'll be honest with you, this is my third attempt at writing this post. Recently, I let a few of my closest friends in on the kind-of secret of my blog (Hi if any of you are reading this). I've never really kept Bows of Style a secret, I've just never really openly shared it. This is the place where I unload all of my thoughts, and the idea of people I actually know reading them kinda scares me. But, seeing as this is a topic that I have wanted to write about for a while I am going to push through my fears and just go for it.

So, back onto the topic at hand, FASHION! Believe it or not, but once upon a time I was kind of a tomboy. I preferred trainers to ankle boots and jogging trousers to skinny jeans or frilly skirts. I was about 10 at this point, and I was friends with people (inside and outside school) that really liked fashion and I guess I felt a little like I couldn't compete with them, because I thought they were all prettier and more popular than me (because they acted like they were). It wasn't until I was able to distance myself from these people and their influence that I actually realised that I loved fashion. From about the age of 13 I really started to experiment with different styles, patterns, accessories and colours. I'll admit I made some very poor choices, but as the years past my outfit choices got better and my self confidence grew. That is definitely one of my main reasons for loving fashion, the way it can make you feel. OK, so the super skinny Photoshoped models in the magazines don't make you feel great I'll admit, but when I'm wearing a really cute outfit that I'm really proud of it makes me feel more confident. I don't dress to impress others, I dress to make myself feel happy. The reason I wear red lipstick and polka dot shirts isn't to draw attention, it's to remind myself that in a world where it sometimes feels like everyone is trying to put you down, you can still make yourself happy. Is it  just me or does nothing make you feel better after spending a week in bed with the sniffles (I could just say the flu, but sniffles just sounded cuter)  than to go out in the fresh air with friends or family wearing an outfit that makes you happy and makes you feel confident?

What you wear can really show and tell others a lot about your personality. Clothes are an amazing outlet for your creativity and allow you to express yourself. So, when you are deliberating over whether that bright yellow blouse is a good choice just remember that its all about how you feel in what you wear. If you think it showcases your amazing personality (which I assure you, your personality is) then just go for it. Which pretty much fills in the space for reasons 2 and 3 for why I love fashion. You don't have to be a sophisticated trend setter or the popular girl who is covered in the most expensive labels from head to toe. You just need to be you, with your personality, your opinions and your choices. Fashion doesn't have to be wearing the most current trend that every celebrity is stepping out in, it's whatever makes you feel good about yourself and brightens your day.

And with that, I round off my reasons for loving fashion. I'm sorry this was such a wordy, long-winded explanation, but this is a very important topic for me and I wanted to do it justice. I owe fashion a lot, it helped me progress from the self conscious 10 year old girl to the blogger who may not have many followers, but loves what she writes about and loves the people who read what she writes even more (corny, but true). I now feel a lot more confident, even if people still presume that I can't be smart or like books or actually enjoy school just because I like fashion.

I would love to know what your opinions about fashion are, so let me know in the comments.
xxx
Miss Bows